Clemson University

Clemson’s a big favorite against FSU, but Seminoles have edge in this ranking

Clemson makes it look easy in decisive win over NC State

Watch highlights of Clemson's big ACC win over NC State Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018 in Death Valley.
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Watch highlights of Clemson's big ACC win over NC State Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018 in Death Valley.

Clemson has grabbed control of the rivalry series against Florida State in recent years, winning three consecutive games against the Seminoles.

The Tigers are expected to handle FSU again in 2018, with Clemson a double-digit favorite for Saturday’s matchup in Tallahassee.

When Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott looks at Florida State on film, however, he doesn’t see a team that is 4-3 with blowout losses against Virginia Tech and Syracuse. Scott sees a team capable of giving Clemson fits.

“In my opinion, just watching a day-and-a-half of video, I believe this will be the best defense that we have faced up until this point. They’re very athletic really at every position,” Scott said. “You really can tell the last couple of weeks that they’ve made a lot of improvement.”

It would make sense that Florida State is improving as the season goes along under first-year head coach Willie Taggart.

The Seminoles have loads of talent on both sides of the ball, even though they haven’t always shown it the past few years.

As Scott pointed out, Florida State has out-recruited Clemson by the recruiting rankings recently. The Seminoles have finished higher than Clemson in recruiting nine of the past 10 years, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.

Scott singled out defensive end Brian Burns as a difference maker and said Burns is the most explosive defensive end Clemson has faced since No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Jadeveon Clowney was at South Carolina.

“He’s a problem. He’s special,” Scott said. “You have to spend a lot of your game plan trying to figure out how to get an extra hat on him, because he can make you look silly in a hurry.”

He added that cornerbacks Levonta Taylor and Kyle Meyers are the two most athletic corners Clemson will have faced in 2018.

“You don’t see many guys running by them, so you have to be great technicians and have a lot of different route combinations for them,” Scott said.

OPPORTUNITY FOR HISTORY

Clemson’s seniors can become the first class to earn four consecutive victories against Florida State in school history with a win on Saturday.

Senior defensive tackle Christian Wilkins said doing so would be a special accomplishment.

“I’m definitely excited for the opportunity to go down to Tallahassee and play Florida State again one last time,” he said. “It should be a lot of fun. It’s always special playing down there, just their tradition and playing in that stadium and everything like that. Florida State’s got a lot of talent. ... So it’s going to be a fun game. I’m looking forward to the preparation this week.”

NO SECOND GUESSING

Wilkins is not allowing himself to think about what could have been with the NFL.

Instead the senior, who could be a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft, is focused on finishing this season strong.

“I’m just trying to be the best I can be here, put an exclamation point on my career here and just be the best that I can be,” he said.

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